Category UPDF and Iddil Amin

Amin Family Statement/Speech For Janan Luwum Memorial Day

His Excellency the President, ministers, government officials, members of the diplomatic community, the family of the late Archbishop Janan Luwum whom we remember today, Church leaders, the organizing committee, distinguished guests, fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen.

On this day, we commemorate the first Janan Luwum day since government declared February 16th a national holiday last year.

As some might be aware, we the family of the late former president Alhajji Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, had actually requested to the organizing committee that we be present at the memorial day function.

We are glad to have joined the rest of the country in this memorial for late former Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire.
Even if it is happening 40 years later, it is important for the nation that we publicly reconcile and offer our condolences directly to the family of the late Archbishop Janan Luwum for the first time.

Our father remained silent on this matter until the end.
But we can tell you what we personally witnessed, and two incidents are central to our testimony.

First, on that fateful day 16th February 1977, we remember how our late father had just returned home to State House Kampala from the Nile Hotel meeting where the Archbishop had been publicly questioned about his involvement in armed rebellion.
Our late father then received a phone call informing him of some alarming news. He immediately drove out of the premises.
While we thought he had gone to attend to some distant emergency, a few minutes later we heard his voice again. He had actually just drove nearby to the neighboring government building.
So we went to the rear State House garden where we heard his big voice, and stood at the perimeter fence where we could see him arguing with some men outside the neighboring building below.

He was complaining that he had specifically ordered them to drive the Archbishop and the two ministers to their respective homes, then bring them back the next day for a private meeting with them. He was asking the men “What had happened?” and was furious that his last orders had not been followed.

The second event we witnessed had been about a week earlier. We had been driven to Rubaga cathedral, Kampala, where we found weapons displayed on the Church’s front lawn. We remember specifically seeing a blue truck with a false Pepsi logo that had been badly painted on its doors. The vehicle was parked next to the church.
Apparently the vehicle was being hidden there in broad daylight. The owners probably knew that security services might not suspect an empty lorry.
However the lorry had a false floor that made it look empty. And it is when the floor metal sheet was ripped open, that the weapons (Italian weapons according to the body guards) were discovered hidden beneath. As young children who were used to seeing the normal Uganda army weapons (during holidays we regularly did shooting practice plus dismounting, cleaning and remounting assault rifles) it was obvious that these were new and different. We hadn’t seen anything like them before.
The security men discussed how they had known that something was hidden at the church. But they had failed to find anything the first time they had gone to the check at the Archbishops residence. Only to discover later, and by chance, that the weapons were actually in the empty looking truck that had been parked there all along.

These are what we witnessed.
But since that day, the death of Archbishop Janan Luwum has brought grief to our late father as well, especially whenever the question arose at home.
One thing that is clear is that Amin didn’t order the Archbishops killing. On the contrary, he ordered his release.

But somebody killed the Archbishop either intentionally or was forced to. The story we heard is that he and the two ministers tried to over power the driver, one Moses Okello, so that they could then flee the country.
Only God knows the truth.

And contrary to what is usually said, Idi Amin was actually very respectful to the Church. The Archbishop had a very cordial relationship with him until that incident. Amin felt as if he had been stabbed in the back when he discovered what the Church was doing. It was shocking to him.

However it turned out later that it actually wasn’t the Church as an institution, but rebel loyalists within the Church who were preparing for armed rebellion to bring Obote back, and they had secretly used the institution. All those involved also turned out to be people fighting specifically for Obote’s cause on a sectarian/tribal basis.

In a recent Daily Monitor article, Mrs Mary Lawinyo Luwum the widow of the late Archbishop, recounted a meeting where our late father met the Archbishop a few days before his death. Amin asked a simple question: “Why was the Archbishop tarnishing his name to the western world using defamatory messages? The widow also says Amin then had a photo moment with the Archbishop to prove wrong the rumours circulating that the archbishop had been imprisoned. That was the Amin we know. Tough but always conciliatory. And this shows that right from the start, Idi Amin had no intention whatsoever of arresting the priest.
Today the rebels that the Archbishop was helping are mostly living in exile ever since their UNLA government was overthrown by the NRM on 25/01/1986.
If you hear how they talk about today’s Uganda, it is the same they were trying to do back then.

There were also high suspicions in the Amin regime that Moses Okello, the person who was last with the Archbishop and the two ministers, could have killed them intentionally.

However even the Amin government couldn’t prove it and thereby had to leave the matter where the available investigation findings concluded.

What the nation must understand is that the late Archbishop Japan Luwum’s story is one that had high political stakes for the so-called “Liberators”. The versions we read about clearly show serious disinformation at work in order to justify rebellion. They intentionally demonized our late father so that they could have a chance at ruling the country for themselves and not for the Ugandan people.
Events that happened between 1979 and 1986 prove this.
But by any standards, a truck full of weapons is a serious national security concern anywhere in the world. Today, any government would treat the Archbishop’s actions as terrorism. He wouldn’t even be invited for a chat with the president or a live interview, but might instead be immediately incarcerated in a maximum security prison comparable or worse than Guantanamo Bay.

What led to the famous public inquiry that was aired live on TV was Amin telling Ugandans and the international community to see for themselves what was going on. Transparency.
He wanted everyone to witness what had been prepared by Obote’s rebels.
At the time, our late father told Ugandans that all these weapons couldn’t be there to kill just him alone. And that it is the whole country that they were aiming at putting ablaze, and all Ugandans would suffer if they succeeded. Indeed that is what happened for a whole two decades from the day the Tanzanian forces and the Ugandan rebels marched together into the country.
Uganda Television should rebroadcast that live telecast so that todays Ugandans can see for themselves how the Archbishop pointed to Erinayo Oryema and Obote Ofumbi as his co-conspirators.

It is worth noting that prior to that, the two ministers hand’t even.been suspected in the matter and had actually come by themselves as respectable government ministers to the Nile Hotel meeting. All that changed only after they were pointed at by the Archbishop. This is in the recording.

Meanwhile in regards to our late father’s relation with the church, as president he had endeavored to treat the three major faiths equally as well. While there are claims that he had shared Indians properties with his friends and relatives, he actually didn’t have a single personal business his entire life.
Last year, we told the public how he had decreed that certain properties be given to the three major faiths: Old Kampala hilltop for Muslims, then Mapeera House land, Kampala road to the Catholic Church, and the new Church House premises, Kampala road, to the Anglican Church.

Maybe the two Churches can own up to Ugandans that Idi Amin initiated and encouraged these now beautiful towering developments in the center of Kampala?
Today, we want to help foster national healing. However it is something that is done in a reciprocal and/or multilateral way, and others also have an honesty role to play.
Today the nation can say let us never regress to the conflicts that existed, and where our country fought itself for more than four decades.
In that spirit, we would like to add our voice to the many who know that though there are still obvious challenges, we can also confirm that Uganda has largely progressed in terms of peace and stability, rule of law, economic development, democracy, and freedom of expression.

The people who purposely caused insecurity during Amin’s regime, and who have extensively confessed about their 8 year operations then, are here to celebrate the peace.

Today, we for example, have been voters since the first general elections under the 1995 constitution.
We lined up with everybody on that day in 1996 to choose Uganda’s leader. Our late father was glad that we had taken civic duties seriously.
So we salute progress as the best medicine for the country’s long term stability. It has made it possible for the Amin and Luwum families to live peacefully in the same country.

However, we call on all leaders, especially the younger generation that wasn’t actively present during the Archbishops days, or weren’t mature enough during the gruesome years that followed particularly from 1979 to 1986, to make sure that justice becomes an even bigger priority for this country.
Because we all know that justice, the rule of law and continuously rejecting impunity, is what will ultimately ensure that the country doesn’t regress to any future chaos.

For example, it was shocking for us to learn that concerning the death of the late Archbishop, even though some original video and documented records existed, none of the subsequent governments tried to organize a judicial inquiry or official forensic investigation. We wondered how can the state and the public rely on an individuals books as the official verdict yet there are designated government departments whose task is specifically to check crime?

Why hasn’t any government for example followed up Moses Okello, the last person with the Archbishop taking him home as ordered by our late father?
Also, why has one Mr. Lawoko made unscrupulous financial gain from the family’s grief? When he writes a book titled “Dungeons of Nakasero” claiming to be the last person to have seen the Archbishop alive inside a purported dungeon, also claiming that they were both incarcerated together, further alleging that Amin personally came and killed the Archbishop, yet that very day Mr. Lawoko was actually the head at Uganda Television/Radio Uganda, dispatching journalists to Nile Hotel and monitoring the live coverage.
We call that parasitic opportunism. Earning from other peoples grief.
Mr. Lawoko’s subordinate for example, veteran Radio Uganda journalist Mr. Charles Byekwaso, already publicly attested how he received his news assignments that very morning from his boss Mr. Lawoko himself at the national Radio station. We wonder has Lawoko at least made regular donations to Janan Luwum’s family from his unscrupulous earnings?

We for example, plan to make commemorative products with our late fathers picture and avail them to interested Ugandans soon. There has been huge interest for Amin memorabilia from the public.

We hereby pledge to make a donation from any earnings to the Archbishops family or community. Because we saw the sadness that his death caused to our late father. It is probably the one incident during his presidency that hurt him the most.
And it is because of that pain we saw on our late father’s face that we would also like to make the donation to a children’s charity since they are the country’s future. But we ask Mr. Lawoko to apologize to the family and the nation for his behavior.
But the important point as we look ahead is to always try and have justice served on any crime.
There also hasn’t been justice for Lubiri 1966 for example. Neither for Mukura, Luweero, Ombachi, Mbarara, and other probable serious mass crimes committed between the State and citizens by people whom most are alive and either living in Uganda or hiding abroad.

Yes, they have been increasing calls for a new independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission to review every major incident since independence.
We are surprised that criminals who unrepentantly massacred innocent peasants, have become national heroes, or are living comfortably in western countries. If one checks the names on the official list of national hero’s, one wonders if this is how they are supposed to pay for their crime in this country.
That is why there should also be the word “justice” in the Truth and Reconciliation commission’s title.

Just last week, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who headed the South African Truth Commission right after Apartheid, was expressing regret that dangerous criminals managed to walk scot-free to this day, yet the Commissions recommendations had been that punishment for serious crimes ought to be pursued by the South African government. The South African people are today questioning the relevance of that commission since Apartheid criminals are enjoying today’s multi-racial South Africa unpunished.

In that spirit, we would hereby like to make a humble request that the idea of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be pursued vigorously to a just close for the bereaved and the country.
Also, that this important day February 16th be a day of remembrance for all who perished since independence.

This country has far so many unrecognized martyrs. People who died for the country. Some even didn’t know why they died.
We should remember them all together.
We sincerely hope that His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, or whoever will be elected in two days, considers the matter for the sake of more peace, justice, political civility and long term stability.

Uganda today is a different place. Citizens are also called voters. This new generation of Ugandans are now choosing their own political destiny albeit with a few regrettable incidents during campaigns where we tend to regress to what looks exactly like the police state we have all heard about in the countries turbulent history.

But there has largely been tangible improvements. We once told our late father that he wouldn’t recognize Kampala with the development that the Ugandan people themselves have managed to achieve against all odds. We told him that here people say he opened their eyes.

The point is that we have long moved on together with the new generation in this country, and that is a good thing. We are therefore committed to always being with Ugandans as the country continues towards more economic growth and stability.
However it is justice that ultimately breaks the cycle of violence. We sincerely hope that the cycle hasn’t secretly grown and that another bout is possibly still coming ahead. Yesterdays incident where one citizen was shot by state agents as he supported his preferred candidate is highly regrettable and should be investigated until prosecution and punishment.

In that regard, and as we remember this country’s past, it is our constitutional duty to call upon the police and security services to cool down on national elective politics as they face civilians. As we said recently, our history should remind the state never to point guns at civilians whether during peace-keeping duty abroad or during elections at home. This is something we all need to consciously agree on as a country.

It is our constitutional duty as well to also request that the state puts in place greater guarantees that every citizen who so desires is always able to peacefully express their political views. That is another lesson from the widely circulated Archbishops legacy. Yes he took a decision against the sitting president. And that is important for any citizen to be able to continue to do peacefully.
It is days like today that should help us remember where the red line is in the actions of the state. Sadly, the Archbishop’s death was a red line that isn’t supposed to have happened.
And that is one way we can use his memory. As a guide to prevent mistakes from happening again.

We can achieve that with the memory of the late Archbishop in mind. I personally also have my own mothers memory, the late former first lady Kay Amin whose gruesome death on 14th August 1974 remains a motivating factor for me to advocate for peace and womens rights for example. Others might want to struggle for religious rights and increased political freedoms when they remember the fallen Ugandans.
In fact, one thing that could also help is that we include all the forgotten fallen Ugandans on this national day, so that as a nation we do some serious introspection to value each citizen regardless of political affiliation or the political impact of their rightful activities.

The just concluded presidential debate proved that increased political decency was just nearby yet Uganda hadn’t ever practiced it. We now realize that it brought added civility to the country’s politics. Anything that has the capacity to help us check our own political behaviors and help the citizens see political competition live with their own eyes so as to then choose from a level perspective, must be institutionalized so that we increasingly move beyond any personality cult and towards more institutionalization.

We therefore need to build on the present national consciousness that encourages constructive open debate. This might also be best served if the “Baraza” citizen’s debates are encouraged again rather than curbed as has been the case recently.
We might then be able to gain from each others ideas and thereby uplift the country’s common political consciousness.
It is a day like today where we need to remember the root causes that led to the numerous conflicts the country has experienced since independence day 9/10/1962.
The causes haven’t changed: Sectarianism, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and greed for power.
As we look at the new generation of youths living in a totally different time today compared to what the older generation has survived, it is our humble wish that the bright young men and women we see enjoying life to its fullest, including those struggling to get an education or looking for jobs, that they will live beyond war, abject poverty and darkness. Which wasn’t the case for some generations before them.
And finally, we also pray that the memory of all Ugandans who perished through the turbulent years be best served by today’s citizens gaining more peace, faith, quality education, improved health, freedom, individual rights, hard work, plus unity and reconciliation for all present and future.

For God And Our Country.

Hussein Lumumba Amin
Kampala, Uganda.



Museveni calls him BARYA in order to give the name an Ankole accent. Brig. Ronnie BALYA is a mutooro from the late Bishop Balya family. He is a graduate from Makerere university having graduated around 1980. He joined the NRA around 1985/86. He is among the different university graduates from the wrong tribes whom Museveni would deliberately divert to Internal Security Organisation, External Security Organisation and other civilian assignments in order to keep them off his main stream military service. It is this diversion of the highly educated that gave rise to the likes of Kaziini (P. 7), Otema Awany (S. 4),Wilson Mbadi (S. 4), Kayanja Muhanga (S. 5), Dick Olum (S2). Katumba Wamala (Cert in Agric), Charles Angina (S. 4 and others with modest education continue to occupy top positions. His usual excuse of historical factor does not apply here because none of them was in the bush. The fact is that those with minimal education standard are easy to manipulate and use to overwhelm the highly educated whose capacity to analyse political/military situations does not go well with his designs.

Brig. Balya first came to public eye when he was the DISO of Mbarara district at the time when Gen Tinyefuza secretly crowned the Ankole king. Then Lt. Balya was reprimanded on suspicion that he had connived with the team that crowned the king. Thanks to Hon. John Nasasira who pleaded with Museveni because by clan (Omwitira), Balya shares with Nasasira and other members of the ruling clique.Therefore, BARYA is regarded as a home boy. At the ISO head office, Lt. Balya rose to become the Director of Information Techinology (DIT). It is DIT that is responsible for technicalintelligence gathering using technical means in intercepting telephone, military radio, email, fax communications.

Then Lt Ronnie Balya gained fame when his department played a vital role in intercepting and breaking into the communication codes of the LRA during the northern insurgency, the Rwanda army during the Kisangani standoff and most of the regional security agencies. The operation is codenamed RABIT. By 2010, Balya had rised to become the Deputy Director General (DG) of ISO at a time when the spy agency was embroiled in factionalism. He was charged with leading a pro Museveni loyalist operatives within ISO. The then Director General Dr. Amos Mukumbi was suspected to have personal connections with ISO former DG and founder Gen. Jim Muhwezi whose political clarity was in doubt. It during the same time that other senior directors in ISO like Baguma, Kasura, Kwiringira, Rwekikiga, Kagoro, and some others were purged.

Brig. Ronnie Balya though a Deputy DG enjoyed closeness to the then Chief of Defence forces and Musevenis right hand man, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura and the then CMI boss Brig. James Mugira. Ronnie Balyas intelligence collection undertakings and reporting had a direct link to Museveni. Such a development left the then ISO DG Dr Mukumbi issolated. No wonder, soon after, the Cadet Officer trained Dr. Mukumbi was kicked out and Balya was promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed the Director General. With Aronda at the top of the internal affairs ministry and spearheading the process of militarising the Police force, bringing the immigration department to the armpit of security agencies and monitoring the operations of NGOs among other tasks, there is no doubt Balya has a big role to play in availing Aronda with the required spies for planting on each and every inch of the Uganda territory.

During the recent military adventure in the south Sudan, ISO and Operation RABIT in particular must have played a vital role in providing technical intelligence to the the invading NRA and Kirrs SPLA thus, the seemingly coincidental promotion of the two key players Brig Kayanja and Brig Balya. But given Musevenis ways the promotions of the two sons of Tooro was partly prompted by his move to neutralise the opposition influence among prominent families in Tooro against reports that members of the Tooro royal family in London are getting close to exiled Gen. Tinyefuza. On the other hand the promotion of Kayanja and Balya to the top rank of Brigadier is to also act as a compensation for the demise of Brig Noble Mayombo who was from the royal family in Tooro. The move is also meant to cover up for the public outcry of the top command positions in the army being dominated by his Hima tribes men.

Otherwise, Brig. Balya is as a civilian more than his predecessors Honorary Brig. Eriya Kategaya, Col. Mushega, Col Butime, Gen. Otafire and others whom Museveni delibarately denied a mainstream military career but simply awarded them military ranks to hoodwink them.

Posted by Robukui


The recent elevation of Wilson Mbadi to the rank of Maj. General and his appointment as one of the three top Commanders of the NRA is part of the ongoing countrywide counter Insurgency campaign.

Wilsom Mbadi is a Mukonjo by tribe of Kasese district. The Bakonjo occupy the greater part of the strategic Mountain Rwenzori. This mountain that borders with DRC has a history of harbouring guerilla groups. In the 1960s, fighters of the Rwenzururu Freedom Movement established bases in the Rwenzori mountain. UNLF-AD under Cheif Ali established bases in the Rwenzori Mountains during the early 1980s. When the going grew tougher for Museveni’s NRA in Luwero in 1984, it retreated to the Rwenzori Mountains. The NALU of Amon Bazira had bases in the Rwenzori mountains during the late 1980s. Since the mid 1990s, the ADF guerillas have enjoyed sanctuary in the Rwenzori mountains. For all these fighting groups, the Rwenzori mountain has provided them with tactical advantage.

The local residents who are the Bakonjo have rendered a hand in one way or the other to the fighting groups. However, for quite sometime the voting pattern of Kasese district has been a source of worry for Museveni. Suprisingly, Kasese district is an opposition FDC stronghold throughout the western region. Though the district has a number of other tribes like the Batooro, Bakiga and Banyankole who are found in urban centres, it is the indigenous Bakonjo who are the majority in the mountainious areas. The indigenous minority Basongora, occupy a small area in the lowlands.

Therefore the majority of the voters in Kasese district are the Bakonjo. At one time the opposition party (FDC) shadow Minister of Defence was an MP from Kasese. The PRA guerilla group had a good number of Bakonjo boys. Maj. Muhindo who deserted the NRA is suspected to be with PRA. A number of ADF fighters are Bakonjo hailing from Kasese

The Bakonjo enjoy an advantage accross the border in DRC where they have close ethinic linkages with some communities there. The Bandandi and Banyabwishi ethinic communities in DRC are close cousins of the Bakonjo in Uganda. They occupy strategic areas along the Rwenzori mountains on the DRC side. They extend to areas of DRC accross Lake Edward, Bushenyi, Kihihi, Bwindi/Kanungu in Uganda. This includes the strategic Kanyabayonga rised ground in DRC. An influential Munyabwitsi and now a DRC Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi was a one time Museveni backed rebel leader in Eastern DRC before the two fell out.

On the northern side of the Rwenzori in Uganda’s Bundibugyo district are the politically dormant Bambas. By ethinicity, the Bambas have no linkage with any ethinic group in DRC. Instead, Museveni mobilised the Pastrolist Hema communities accross the Semuliki River in DRC during the Ituri conflict. To fully secure that geographical sector, he linked them with the Ugandan Batuku ethinic pastrolist group in Ntoroko. He has granted them district status and is now working on issolating them from the Tooro Kingdom.

Therefore in the Rwenzori region, it is the politically active and naturally secretive, industrous but determined Bakonjo who remain a problem to Museveni. His schemes of issolating the minority Basongora from the Tooro kingdom and granting them a separate district may not materialise as the Bakonjo remain a domminant force in Kasese. The appointment of Cryspus Kiyonga as Minister of defence has not realised the intended results on the ground. The District Chairmanship of a reknown former NRA highway robber, Col Dula Mawa has not made the desired impact.

It is against that background that Museveni elevated Wilsom Mbadi to the top of the army leadership. Wilsom Mbadi joined the NRA after it come to power. He can read and write and may have attended lower secondary school. He had his basic military training at Kabamba training school. As was the practice then, he was among those few selected to remain in the training school to be trained as an instructor. He was seconded by then Capt. Benard Obola and Capt. Clovice Kalyebara who were senior instructors at Kabamba. He served as a parrade/drills instructor at Kabamba for about two years where he earned the rank of Corporal. Later he was taken with other instructors to Singo training school under then Maj. Clovice Kalyebara to continue instructing recruits. It was at Singo that luck struck and Mbadi was selected to attend the Caded course at Sundhurst. Upon return he was commissioned. Such offers occassionally come up. Vet. Dr. Maj. Sabiiti Mutengesa also attended the same course before he was persecuted into exile. Museveni being a believer in tribalism, has always elevated army officers along such considerations. Katumba Wamala is one such example. Mbadi was lucky to have served with Aronda under the tank brigade who cleared him for body guard to Museveni. Now, Mbadi has the task of convincing the Bakonjo to back Museveni but moreso reach out to his cousins in DRC.


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UPDF has a structure but we should really focus also on policy and statecraft issues

Kazini’s status: Have you heard of any former Army Commander in Africa being taken to prison for stealing a few shillings? Kazini, Major General, S.3 dropout. Otamuweka wapi? Tanzanian retired generals are diplomats, regional governors,etc. Could you trust Kazini with your herd of goats? How did such an individual like Kazini become the embodiment of the values of a very important national institution? I am told he still had some cases to answer for petty thieving. You know, when he was in Nigeria for senior command training, those officers there always wondered how he became a general. When they went out to look for ladies, Kazini would go in for those that befitted Nigerian Corporals! When he went to Ghana for a staff course, he nad a runin with an instructor. He was thrown off the course, escorted back to Uganda by the Ghanaian Military Police paka Entebbe , then they heard he was Chief of Staff, then Army Commander! Did they laugh or cry?

And with Kazini, when you talk to the average UPDF soldier, he will tell that if all he had left in his rifle were only two rounds of ammunition, and he found Kazini, Kony and Odhiambo in a dark corner, he would shoot Kazini twice in the head………

General Kazini….two words that are a heart-rending oxymoron!

Anyway as I said, ever since 1979, Uganda has tended to lean towards Tanzania in the manner of organising the military…for obvious reasons. Even subsequently when you did away with NRA, you opted for UPDF…mirroring TPDF. To appreciate the Uganda military arrangements, look at TPDF.

And by the way, the Tanzanians (and anybody else) would tell you that the Kenyan system is the one that is confused. Kenya lacks the conceptual grasp between ‘Command’ matters, i.e., everything to do with the general directing of operational matters (the teeth) and ‘Staff’ matters i.e., everything to do with directing support matters (the tail). The Joint Chief of staff in Tanzania is actually called the Chief of General Staff…he is in charge of Staff Officers that support the commanders. Kenyans call their biggest commander a ‘chief of staffs’ which is really funny….like referring to a headmaster as a head prefect. With the Tanzanians, the Chief of Staff is of a higher rank than the respective service commanders, making him the third most senior. The Tanzanians are also silent about the chiefs of staff of the respective services.

UPDF has a structure, Yes it does as President Museveni being the Commander-in-Chief, Gen Aronda Nyakayirima as the Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen I Koreta as the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Katumba Wamala is the Commander Land Forces, Brig Lusoke as the Joint Chief of Staff, Brig Angina Chief of Staff and other follow

There is the link to the Uganda MOD where the details of the UPDF can be found. The information appears to be in the public domain: Link:

The link for the Army, which you Ugandans have elected to call the Land Forces is:

The link for the Airforce is:

The link for the Marines is:

Of course Uganda is a land-locked country, so reference to ‘Marines’ is a misnomer. Our geography has nothing to do with the sea. May they should have referred to ‘Amphibious’ or ‘Lake-borne’

Note that, in terms of doctrine, whether organisational or tactical, Uganda has borrowed from Tanzania . Even when you look at Kenya , we need to be clear about the structure. The heads of the services (Army, Airforce, Navy) are respectively called Commanders, they are all at the same level, falling directly under the CGS–>VCGS.

In Uganda , instead of ‘General Staff’ you refer to Defence Forces. Gen Aronda is the CDF (equiv of CGS) and Gen Koreta is the Deputy CDF (equiv of VCGS). Gen. Koreta is not the Chief of Staff of the Army as you indicate. The army has its own command structure as a service with Gen Katumba as the commander. The same applies with the Airforce where there is a commander. Each of the Services has its chief of staff. The Joint Chief of Staff, Brig. Rusoke oversees the chiefs of staff of the services, and not the service commanders. The service commanders are answerable to the CDF through the Deputy CDF, just like in Kenya .

Gen Koreta, the Deputy CDF is senior to the respective service commanders (Katumab for the Army, Owoyesigire for the Ariforce)….no contradiction there.

Whether Kenya mentions its chiefs of staffs or not is a matter of preference but I am sure they do exist there too and operate in a similar manner. I think all you Ugandans have not done is to draw an organogram like Kenya has done.

Note that, for Kenya you refer to the Army Commander as the third highest ranking but that is not the case. All service commanders are at the same level…they are peers (see this link:

But even, all this debate about structure and personalities really takes us into the weeds: bottom line, it is trivial in regard the defence and security of Uganda .

But the question of Uganda ‘s institutional realities: Institutions are a mirror image of the societies that they service. How institutions function (and malfunction) is a culmination of historical factors, and a distillate of political realities. It may be a bit unrealistic for us to take the Kenyan arrangement as the norm for all time and all places. One may ask for example, why is it that following the 1964 mutiny of the East African militaries, did Mr Nyerere disarm, lock up and finally disband the Tanganyika Rifles completely, then Mr Kenyatta did the same but not as comprehensively yet Mr Obote decided to honour all the demands of the mutineers, increased their salaries, gave them promotions; dismissed the ringleaders and reinstated them half an hour later? Part of what we see today has roots right there in our history.

How many civil wars has Kenya or Tanzania had? Do those countries have the equivalent of Buganda , as an ‘indigestible element’ in national life, to use Huntington ‘s words in his ‘Political Order in Changing Societies’? How many times since 1964 has the Kenyan military been disbanded; and how about Uganda ? How many rebel groups has Kenya had? Uganda …anything up to thirty. Co-opting all those for the sake of short term harmony has always been at the expense of professionalism. The Katebe ‘institution’ is an embodiment of some for those skeletons in the closet of our political history.

At UAH, we should really focus also on policy and statecraft issues. This is where the future of the country can best be thought about instead of spending alot of time on recrimination, defensiveness and making comical promises. I will send you the country’s defence policy and the white paper on defence… is in such areas that incumbents should be put to task for the good of the country, not just hurling insults at them like we like to do here at UAH.

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

A Ugandan Colonel (whether Acholi, Langi or Munyankore) earns about the equivalent of $ 6,000 per year where as his British counterpart earns $150,000

Below are the groups that make up the UPDF. An alphabetic listing of the UPDF would probably show that, about 40% of the surnames start with letter ‘O’, and not because they are Otafiire, Owoyesigire, Owakubariho Omulyannaka, Omutego-kweguli or Owobusingye. It is the ‘Okellos’, again! Infact the single name ‘Okello’ may be anything up to 10%.

It may not be advisable to assume that 80% of the force is from one ethnic group. I would suggest that you get yourself acquainted as quickly as you can,to the reality that, the rank and file of the Ugandan military is an amalgam of at least two dozen pliticomilitary groups that have graced the country in the last three or so decades, and not those Tutsis and Rwandese as many of you here like to refer to them. The NRA is just one out those many groups that make up the UPDF, and the original NRA soldier is now a very, very, very rare commodity. And by the way, that is not to imply that, yeah, good riddance.

One time, James Kazini, the disgraced former head of the UPDF boasted that there were about 6,000 UPDFs from Nyabushozi county only. I do not think he really knew what he was talking about.

Here are the groups:

1. National Resistance Army (NRA)

2. Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA)

3. Uganda People’s Democratic Army (UPDM/A)

4. Uganda People’s Army (UPA)

5. Ruwenzururu Kingdom Freedom Movement

6. Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM)

7. Uganda Mujahdeen Movement (UMM)

8. Ninth October Movement/Army (NOM/A)

9. Allied Democratic Front/Force (ADF)

10. Force Obote Back Army (FOBA),

11. Federal Democratic Movement (Fedemo)

12. West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) I &II

13. Uganda National Democratic Alliance (UNDA)

14. National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU)

15. Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) I &II

16. Holy Spirit Movement/Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (HSM) I & II

17. Citizen Army for Multiparty Politics (CAMP),

18. Action Restore Justice (ARJ)

19. Former Uganda National Army (FUNA),

20. Anti-Referendum Army (ARA),

21. Peoples’ Redemption Army (PRA)

22. Uganda Salvation Force/Army (USF/A)

23. Lord’s Army

24. Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

Many of the UPDF riflemen were born after 1986…may be 90% of the young boys in UPDF battalions. The UPC many of them know is the group that in the 2006 elections polled 0.82% of the votes, behind a young independent man that polled 0.95%. That is all they know!

Many are from the groups I have listed for you above. They joined the UPDF to earn a living, they work under severe hardships, when their bosses are busy stealing their pay and procuring for them substandard equipment. Several were integrated into the UPDF from anti-NRM insurgency groupings which they were gangpressed into joining, through grissly initiations like murdering their own parents and siblings.

The great majority of those boys are yearning for a change that can make their situation better than it is now. 100% of those boys who joined the UPDF through regular recruitment did not receive pay as recruits because Uganda is the only country in the world that does not pay its recruit during the first nine or more months of initial training. This is the situation in the UPDF, and ironically, that was the situation in the UNLA…..

Just as an example, A Ugandan Colonel (whether Acholi, Langi or Munyankore) earns about the equivalent of $ 6,000 per year where as his British counterpart earns $150,000. That UPDF Colonel needs to hear voices that promise to alleviate his plight, and not those like yours, that are bent on demonising him. A future government that holds childish views about the hard-pressed UPDF soldier definitely alienates itself in advance.

For those of you who keep referring to the UPDF as ‘Tutsi/Rwandese’, you cannot imagine what anger you cause for young boys who are living under serious hardships. Somehow, you end up politicising them, and poisoning them against your own interests.

We are all sympathetic with the conditions of our civil servants and soldiers serve in due to their numerical strength; police, army, teachers, nurses. Our economy can not make make for them havens. Unlike UA and UNLA, this is a people’s army which has successfully transformed from a guerilla force to a professional army. They are political but not partisan, so they know from where we have come from, where we have reached and where we are going. Some of you seem not confortable with the name NRA. But let me remind you that when DP wanted to change UNLA name to UA,. UPC led by Defence Minister Paulo Muwanga refused. Fortunately UPDF was a consensus in Constituent Assembly since the army was NRA, the draft recommended for UAF and they all agreed with UPDF. Initially Sebaana Kizito was not confirtable with it because of the word people which, he said would reminding him of UPC and its atrocities. The army and the media are so crucial in the politics of Uganda and else where and those who are hostile to them will never see the gates of State House.

One of the stupid things President George Bush was to dismantle the Iraqi army, one million strong. It has taught him and his occupiers a lesson. A similar mistake was made by Tanzanians in 1979 when they banded Uganda Armed Forces as Idi Amin’s personal army. They regrouped in the Sudan and DR Congo and almost went with Obote and Okello Lutwa’s heads in Koboko in 1980. Ask Barig.Robert Rwenhururu.They became a prey for Isaac Lumago, Moses Ali, Faruq Minawa, Lutakome Kayiira and Yoweri Museveni’s recruitment against Obote ll regime. Brig.Kasirye Gwanga has been giving testimonies to that effect. Therefore any politician abusing UPDF will never step into power even for a day.

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick
and Ahmed Katerega

Wasn’t Amin Forced to Rule At Gun Point?

OBIT IDI AMINAs a military convoy was approaching Major General Idi Amin’s residence, he received information about the impending arrest and jumped over the back fence to escape.

While the military searched his house, Amin first took refuge at the neighbors and from there, proceeded to Kenya.

Obote was president of Uganda at the time and had implicated the Army General in a defense scandal where Amin was accused of having misappropriated public funds.

But for the military man, these were trumped up charges and the real purpose of the arrest was to eliminate him.

There were rumors of a so-called “Lango Master Plan” where the army and government officers of the Luo tribe (Acholis and Langis) were said to be preparing a genocide-like purge of the government of Uganda so that they would take full control of the country.

Obote called Amin back and reassured him. Soon after, Amin was promoted to be the most senior officer in the army.

This promotion brought a new uproar from senior Luo officers in the army and government. One of their arguments was that Lt. Colonel Oyite Ojok who was Army Quarter Master General at the time, was more educated than Amin and therefore deserved the promotion.

Oyite Ojok was also one of their own, a Luo.

President Obote now faced serious decent from his own tribesmen and had to appease them lest they turned their weapons against him.

By 1971, rumors about the impending Master Plan were rife again. Top on the list for elimination was Major General Idi Amin Dada, the head of the army.

He had to be eliminated for the plan to succeed.

Those seeking for his neck claimed to Obote that Amin had planned the assassination attempt on the President in Lugogo in 1969.

They also told the President that the death of Brigadier Okoya and his wife in Gulu was planned and implemented by Amin. They however failed to link the military man to the double murder when matters.

Indeed it was discovered that Idi Amin had actually been at his hometown of Arua at the time of the Brigadiers death.

With all the accusing fingers trying to blame Amin, and with President Milton Obote under pressure from his fellow Luo tribesmen, the Master Plan quickly gathered momentum in a series of secret meetings.

Tensions started rising within the army, including even with the families of officers in the barracks’.

During the line up for rations, wives and children of the Luo officers would openly threaten those of the other tribes, pushing them out of the line and warning them about the impending purge whereby the Luo’s would rule Uganda.

In the Master Plan, the soldiers from the West Nile region of Uganda had to be eliminated since they were in big numbers in the army. And Amin, a known combatant and fighter, was from West Nile.

In a last meeting before travelling to the Common wealth meeting of Singapore, Obote is said to have agreed to the implementation of the Master Plan to take place while he was on the official trip abroad from the 14th to the 24th of January.

23rd January 1971 was code named “Bloody Sunday” for what was going to happen on that day, and Obote would be away at the time and therefore not be seen to have a hand in it.

Amin and many Uganda Army officers and soldiers were now in mortal danger.

Lt Col Okwang, a Luo and Commanding Officer of Lubiri military barracks was tasked to handle the implementation of the operation in his barracks. One Captain Keneri a sniper specialist was tasked to clear Amin upon his arrival back from Egypt were he (Amin) had gone for treatment.

With events in motion, Obote left for the Commonwealth meeting.

Amin got to know of the assassination attempt and avoided it. He then called a press conference on the 16th of January 1971 to announce the attempt on his life by elements close to Obote.

This brought more sympathy to Amin within the army and the country at large as he was already the most popular military officer in Uganda. Soldiers had always revered him for his hands on approach and his ability to easily mix and associate with the common man.

Minister Byagagaire on Amin's right hand side

Minister Byagagaire on Amin’s right hand side

In the streets, people were genuinely concerned about what was happening in the leadership of the country and also what was happening against Idi Amin.

Suddenly on the 23rd of January, (the date for Bloody Sunday of the Master Plan) new developments started unfolding in the Lubiri barracks, the main military facility in the capital Kampala and former official residence of King Muteesa II, deposed first president of Uganda and King of Buganda.

Senior Luo officers in the facility started disarming all soldiers hailing from the other parts of Uganda and ordered them to take the day off.

Luo soldiers were brought in to replace them particularly on guard duty.

Sgt Major Musa Yaoga who was from West Nile, was duty officer in charge of the security of Lubiri Barracks. He was summarily detained to avoid any mishap of the plan.

At the time, many soldiers were just glad to be released from duty so as to enjoy their free time in the nearby Kisenyi bars.

At around 16:00, an announcement was made to the effect that Johny’s mess, where all the lowly ranked soldiers usually had their meals from, was to be the venue of an important officers meeting. All soldiers were ordered to stay away from the venue and instead gather unarmed at the Officers mess where they would be confined.

The meeting took place in the evening after 7pm and involved only Luo military officers.

When the meeting was over, the confined soldiers saw these officers and their kinsmen lining up at the armory to pick weapons and ammunition.

When other soldiers who had avoided being locked in the officers mess tried to join the line for their duty weapons, they were told off and also sent for confinement.

Suspicions now peaked within the military facility. People’s worst fears about the Master Plan were becoming reality right in front of their eyes. And they, in Lubiri, were about to become the first victims.

One soldier, Private Lubari from West Nile, escaped from the barracks and headed for nearby Kisenyi suburb where his comrades who had been relieved of guard duty were enjoying the evening.

He alerted them of what was happening in the barracks and mentioned that the Luo soldiers were now picking weapons from the armory and also disarming and locking up everyone else.

This group from Kisenyi got up and dashed back to the barracks to see what was happening.

Upon arrival, the quarter guard at the entrance of the barracks had been blocked and no one was allowed to enter the barracks.

The group returning from Kisenyi then suddenly received oncoming fire from the armed soldiers and had to retreat. But they only went around the barracks’ and climbed over the perimeter wall under the cover of darkness.

They then proceeded quietly to the area where all the Armored Personnel Carriers at the facility were parked.

One Private Musa Gala jumped in one of the APC vehicles. There were no keys to start the vehicle as all keys were usually kept together with all weapons at the armory.

He found a six inch nail and a key-like opener of tinned beef, fidgeted with that for a while to start the vehicle.

Suddenly, the APC roared into life.

His other comrades gathered around the vehicle for cover as Gala drove the vehicle through the compound.
Destination? The Armory.

Upon reaching there, the Private rammed the vehicle through the armory door shattering the buildings front wall with it.

His comrades dashed into the premises and helped themselves with weapons and ammunition.

Others grabbed the keys of the remaining military vehicles and very soon, several Armoured Personnel Carriers with heavy machine gun fire supported by foot soldiers armed to the teeth, were attacking the Luo soldiers in every corner of the barracks and liberating colleagues.

It is at this point that Amin is contacted from the communication system of one of the APC’s and told of what was happening at the barracks.

He orders the soldier to report to his official residence known as the Command Post for a debriefing.

After being told of unfolding events, Amin orders the Corporal to place the APC strategically in the middle of the road leading to the premises so as to prevent any would be attackers from gaining access to the residence.

Meanwhile, Sgt Major Musa Yoga, who had been released by his comrades from the Lubiri lock-ups, was now commanding the fight inside the barracks.

Some of the Luos fled for their lives, others got arrested and some were killed or injured in the firefight.

After clearing the facility, Yoga proceeded to deploy military vehicles with support troops into the city.

Two APC’s were sent to Parliament. Another two deployed to Amins residence in Kololo, a few at Radio Uganda, some at the Main Post Office and others patrolling the city.

More military vehicles were then sent to the towns of Jinja, Masaka, Mubende and Mbarara.

Amin, as Army Chief, quickly contacted all the commanders around the country ensuring that all military facilities were calm and that there would be no further fire fights.

On the 24th of January, everything seemed relatively quiet and a decision had to be taken as to what to do next.

Obote was to return soon, and for the Lubiri soldiers, that meant getting back to square one where their lives would once again be in danger.

It is at this point that one Sgt Major, requested Amin to lead the country. A request that Amin immediately rejected.

The soldiers also immediately turned their guns on Amin saying they would rather kill him and themselves if Amin didn’t take over as President.

Faced with the inevitable, (they were now all in the same boat anyway), all other imaginable options seemed worse for Amin and the officers from Lubiri.

Amin agreed to be president.

The Sgt Major then went on air on radio Uganda on the 25th of January to announce the military take-over led by Major General Idi Amin Dada.

The so called Master Plan had failed upon implementation and many Luo officers and soldiers were to suffer the backlash of their planned genocide after the take-over.

It is only later in the 90’s that elders from West Nile and those from Luo tribes were able to sit together, forgive each other and put that cycle of violence and retribution to rest.

But while many in Uganda and around the world today believe that Amin instigated a Military Coup against Apollo Milton Obote, what actually happened was an act of self defense by a bunch of soldiers from Lubiri barracks who had been enjoying a day off in the nearby Kisenyi suburb.

The Coup of 1971 was an incredibly ethnic development, and it didn’t belong to Amin. The coup belonged to Private Musa Gala, Sgt Major Aswa, Sgt Major Musa Yoaga. Corporal Lubari, Abdalatif, and around 200 other soldiers of all tribes and religions of Uganda who had feared for their lives and had to fight and take-over in order to survive Bloody Sunday.

by Hussein Juruga Lumumba Amin

Muhoozi’s appointments is the consequence of a Constitution that heaps all the appointing authority on the President

Friday 22 Feb 2013

While President Museveni and Dr Besigye’s face off with pen-on-paper instead of teargas and “ajjagenda (“he will go”), is appealing, I was disappointed that “Uganda’s leading politicians” spent so much space discussing the fast tracking of Brigadier Muhoozi. Has Uganda’s instability since 1964 been due to Presidents fast tracking their sons in the army? Weren’t Gen Muntu, Gen Aronda and Colonel Besigye fast tracked by the same Museveni who is fast tracking Muhoozi? Were they the most senior, eligible, competent, deserving and best choice for the positions of Army Commander, Chief of Defence Forces and Minister, respectively? Was it not the President’s arbitrary discretion? Was it ok to fast track them just because they are not his sons? Did NOT fast tracking their sons in the army make Amin and Obote good leaders? Surely the problem of Uganda is more complex than fast tracking of Muhoozi.

ALL top jobs in Uganda are nominated and appointed by the President through assignment of the constitution. These include the Vice President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Justice, Justices, Judges, Ambassadors, Presidential Advisors, heads of the army, police and prisons, Permanent Secretaries, RDC’s, CAOs, Boards and Commissions of Govt Institutions and Statutory Bodies such as the Electoral Commission, Bank Of Uganda, Uganda Revenue Authority, Judicial Service Commission, Health Service Commission, Education Service Commission, Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Law Reform Commission, Local Government Finance Commission, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Forestry Authority, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda Cotton Authority, National Agricultural Research Organization, National Environmental Management Authority, National Planning Authority, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority, Auditor General, Inspector General of Government, Attorney General, Solicitor General, DPP, KCCA and now, the Oil Sector Regulatory Authority. Muhoozi is just one addition to this army of beneficiaries of Museveni’s indulgence.

These, and Muhoozi’s appointments are the consequence of a Constitution that heaps all the appointing authority on the President. The overall effect of this constitutional one-man show is that each of these State and Govt officials, who run Uganda with the President, has a personal stake in the Museveni Presidency and actively or passively contributes to its perpetuation, hence the inability to change Presidents, if we want to!

This is the core of Uganda’s problem which needs to be addressed.

If anybody, including Beti Kamya, became President under this constitution, s(he) would generally fill the above positions with people s(he) trusts or those recommended by people s(he) trusts. They, in turn, would be indebted to the appointing authority and the vicious circle of patronage would continue.

Most of the political issues in Uganda are traceable to the Constitution-created-one-man show.

Can the desired autonomy of the executive, judiciary and legislature work when the Executive appoints the judiciary and 20% of parliament, as provided for in the constitution? What is the effect of fusing a supposedly non-partisan State infrastructure with a legally partisan Govt? Is it pragmatic that parliament, of which 20% are appointed by the executive and 60% constantly hoping to be appointed during a cabinet reshuffle, or to be bailed out in time of need, oversee the performance of the executive?

Shouldn’t Uganda’s constitution be reshaped for its rightful role of steering Uganda to democratic order?

I invite President Museveni and Dr Besigye to raise the level of debate above Museveni and his family, (who will be part of Uganda’s past some day), to the infinite future of Uganda, by evaluating Uganda’s Constitution’s ability to provide a conducive environment to promote democratic order, of which separation of powers is a key feature.

Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe

President – Uganda Federal Alliance

Mugisha Muntu’s body-guard chased from Airforce

The triple-chopper tragedy has taken its toll and the action reveals a lot: mainly that unless you build institutions on other grounds than profession and competence, catastrophe will follow, come what may.
The C-in-C has at last let go. Brigadier Moses Rwakitarate is no more and so is the highest ranking Chiga officer in the forces, Lt. Gen Jim Owoyesigyire. The reasons are as simple as cutting through butter. Look bellow:

Rwakitarate, a boy from Ruti [The Mzee Byanyima place] is the son of a pioneer engineer in telecoms, turned preacher, Mzee Rwakitarate, who worked in the communications area from 1948 to 1983 and is now a saved, revivalist preacher, in the evening of his life. It is reported that he, together with late prof. Wadada Nabudere [then reportedly a Postal-Clerk student at today’s MMU at Mbagathi, Langata, Kenya [MMU- Multimedia University, for Post Office Higher Training Institute] cause a strike because they did not want to put on uniform like the compliant Kenyans they found there.Rwakitarate Senior retire from service with distinction in 1984.

The history of the two dismissed generals will reveal that the air force has been a ‘sanctuary’ of incompetence, nepotism and a disaster waiting to happen:

A). The air force commanding officer was never an airman, in the first place. He was picked from the former ‘armies’ as an artillery officer. Now, ground artillery and air force choppers/guns are different things.he was promoted bypassing carrier airmen and officers for the sake of ‘ethnic balancing’.

B). Moses Rwakitarate was body-guard to Army commander Maj. Gen then, Mugisha Muntu. He had never been to any air force academy before his accelerated advancement and training. Making a former servant, a master in such a short time was bound to result into disaster. details reveal that his promotions were on other grounds than merit alone.

C). Owoyesigyire’s replacement may, in the long run not be a better choice bit he, at least, is ‘a one eyed man among the blind’ since he, although with a police background, was in the Police Air wing at Naguru. Training and re-training should have been/found fertile ground.

The Mt. Kenya debacle was not un-expected by those in the know. Nepotism and incompetence, bribery have been the ‘modus operandi’ in the UPDF air wing for long. Look at this: the C-o-Staff Rwakitarate, the son of a telecoms engineer had, until recently, his mum as ‘a maid’ at State House [judging by the State House payroll and her physical presence there], meaning the Rwakitarate family may be said to be well connected at State House and therefore to the First Lady [Note: These are not personal affairs since, once you enter the public ‘service’ and start depending on the tax-payer, you are a public figure. The grand-mum’s personal life therefore ceased to be private when she accepted to work in a public place, on a national budget]. Now, since the C-in-C has used the whip in the wake of the tragedy, (probably in view of the weight of the Mt. Kenya catastrophe), the protectors of the young Rwakitarate, who may include the first lady, may feel aggrieved instead of feeling guilty and this is one of the un-intended possible outcomes of the dismissals. A more direct consequence is that a lesson has been learnt and nepotism will no longer be the yard-stick by which promotions will be judged/offered/made. Or, may be, is this still an exercise in window-dressing, to hoodwink the outside, in view of the magnitude of the tragedy? “Me and You”, as Ugandans say.

Christopher Muwanga,

‘Post-Script: Happy Jubilee celebrations, for those not ‘under home arrest’ without court warrants or charges. The police have become the law here, deciding whom to allow to celebrate [batembeeyi, pro-ruling party goons, etc] but not freedom seeking citizens. The 50 years are therefore in vain but that is the theme of another post.

Colonel Samson Mande Reveals almost everything that happened before and After Luwero Bush war

Dear Ugandans,
This is a colonel Samson Mande special picked from his exchanges on Facebook with other Ugandans. He answers almost all questions Ugandans have always wanted to ask him. Samson Mande is a member of UAH forum and a former UPDF officer.


We got into the black book of the detractors of the revolution. We do not need permission to write books and a few ex-NRA have written. I am finalising the chapter 11 of mine “NO MORE TEARS OF JUSTICE” and you will soon read it. He laughs best who? In Alex Mukulu´s 40 yrs of banana he was asked why all x- Ugandan but M7 had no ears on their portrait. Remember what he said.

My book will be marketed worldwide for international readers; Ugandans may find it in other countries but since iam not writing it just for commercial purposes I may get people read it on internet. Plus, I believe that democracy, freedom of speech, expression are a temporally problem. We will gain our freedom soon. Who knows, I will launch the book in Uganda soon.

His rank in the army and about the course in Nigeria

If people knew me well they should have remembered that I hold a symbol PSC which I got from Nigeria´s senior division of the command and staff college, records available are that my grade was A+. We are still a handful who holds that symbol in the history of Armed forces in Uganda. I am reliably informed that not only one of all that followed me got an A rating like me. Most of those young officers u see are still struggling to get that symbol and some who have got it are my products.

If some of you had to be objective and broad, u should have seen how around all the modern armies and see how old are their commanders, even those that normally command complicated operations like in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. Do you think those countries have a shortage of young officers? I should just let people know that am not here to win people because am not in any contest.

Every Ugandan should have become a colonel if it was as easy as some of you think, as for professionalism, go to the Army records and look at certificates- I hold the highest, you will also learn from there that iam the one that wrote the Establishment of the Army, I from NRA to UPDF and that the little semblance of an army you see takes shape from there and continues to improve, on age limit which you are obsessed to. Several generals that run the Army today are older than me but nobody has thrown them out yet as some of you are suggesting. In any case, where does that leave General Yoweri-the oldest?

I had never been on’’ Katebe’’, I always held good appointments and offices. The only awkward situation was when I was on in detention for charges whose trial was never delivered to conclusion (justice delayed is justice denied).

Life abroad

I live on what I sweat or freeze for and not on any pay list for donors, I’m a donor instead. People should know that am not in hiding and if iam involved in criminal acts there is Interpol I should be delivered to justice.

Let me educate some of you that half of my family is Bahima and my best half for the last 23 years is a Muhima. And in fact my best man and best friend is a serving Muhima General, even M7 knows him, a few business associates I still have in Uganda are Bahima officers in UPDF.

I for one trained and promoted many Bahima officers such that some of you are at a loss if you say I hate Bahima officers because they were promoted. If you had enough information about the military discipline you would have known that it is an inspiration to train a soldier and you see him gaining a higher rank than yours. I think it’s the same with teachers- they are always very happy to say this engineer, this president this doctor was my pupil or student.

President Museveni

The man (Museveni) whose portrait some of you wear ate the revolution from its embryo, he is now doing the finishing touches of eating the revolution. If you knew the name he was baptised by NRA combatants in the Bush, you wouldn’t dare put that photo of his on your face for it stinks. Some of you want us to believe that you don’t know that NRA never died, it just changed name and state to UPDF?
Museveni was at one time in TZ for 8 years in the first liberation against Amin, he was in the same country iam during the second liberation, and did it stop him from tackling internal problems?

General Tinyefunza

You don’t have to believe what I wrote about Tinyefunza, records are available, people in Gulu and the entire North can tell the story about Tinyefuza better than me,. I gave my testimony it’s your duty to go to the population and investigate.

These “allegations” as some of you have chosen to call them were not made recently and have been in public. Why has Afande Tinyefuza never refuted them or any other known authority.

We did not go to fight Idi Amini and Dr Obote in order to get ranks we fought that the country could overcome mayhem, corruption ,other forms of mismanagement, tyranny so that “all” Ugandans can have peace and prosper. At least that’s what we were told and that is what many of our comrades in the NRA died for. I see all the vices we fought against which we had literally stamped out of most parts of Uganda except in the North and East where it took so long and they are left a generation behind-cause being the partly what I highlighted in that small article. Could history be repeating itself because you have wiped out all officers who maintained the NRA revolution values and retained ‘’indisciplinados’’ like afande Tinyefuza , Patrick Amama Mbabazi or job seekers and looters?

The brutal methods afande Tinyefuza introduced in the North did not help Uganda to finish the on-going Northern conflict; he and several others that followed him got defeated by more over an altar boy Joseph Kony. Now I really need to finish this book quickly because it details answers to some of your simple questions. For instance it was civilians that used to appeal to me to save their people, their property whenever they were being molested, just because they had seen the difference between us and the new comers in the field.

Once again if some of you are just looking for the truth, why do you detest talking to the victims? For instance a gentleman like Hon Omara Atubo can show you torture marks inflicted on him by soldiers on afande Tinyefuza´s orders.

True no one should claim to be an angel, we should look into conduct of all armies; UA, UNLA, NRA, UPDF and all militias; LRA, ADF, FUNA, URF, UPA, UPDA, HOLLY SPIRIT etc all that used military power to solve political and diplomatic problems caused death, we all pulled triggers, exchanged fire and in the process shot and killed each other. That is common in a war situation and there is international law that governs and guides us on conduct during war situations. Those that did not follow the law should be delivered to justice or let justice be delivered to them. Like Operation North a scotched earth policy was full of crimes against humanity. Healing cannot be done if we put humility and truth aside.
Let me remind u that am not in a struggle for power, iam like millions of Ugandans who don’t see the freedom and justice that we fought for and the better future of our country, for that I don’t need guns, I know how painful it is to fight, people can only go fighting if you push them to the wall.

Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission(TRC)

Shouldn’t it be better for the country to set up a Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission like South Africa did after the Apartheid regime fell? Because u might end up being fed on accusations and counter accusations, my word against theirs and you´ll get more confused. Attempts for Northern Uganda people were made to have the ICC investigate both sides-LRA and UPDF in vain, only LRA is being investigated and that’s not fair but selective justice.


As far agriculture is concerned that’s my hobby am doing very well and helped several communities to modernise their own. In Rukungiri where I and my family have two farms: one in Kebisoni and the other in Kambuga, we have been supplying grade 1 heifers to many developing farmers in the districts around. In Buganda I initiated the Busunju growers’ society and paid my savings to kick-start the horticulture scheme around Mpigi, Mubende, and now horticulture is one of the best income earners in local and foreign exchange.

In Ngoma, I and my family have some of the best beef cattle and if u go to Ngoma and ask them about a road called Mande road they will show it to you. This is a road I built from my savings and it connected Ngoma trading centre to Biduku.

In Mbarara my farm is located on 14-15 miles on Kikagati road at a place called Kyeirumba where I have 10 acres of a banana plantation and very good cattle.

Death of Colonel Muzoora

On Muzoora´s case, we are waiting for the outcome of the investigations going on, it’s too early for anybody to say he embarrassed himself after all we don’t know exactly how he died. Suppose it turns out in future that he died for a credible cause? One’s terrorist can be another ones hero. Today’s hero can turn out to be tomorrow’s villain. Today’s terrorist can turn out to be tomorrow’s statesman- remember the Mandela case. Wasn’t he a convict yesterday what is he today. Let’s not be judgemental and let’s give ourselves time. Time will tell.


I have never stepped in Luzira prison not even to visit a prisoner. Some of you have called us robbers, rapists, terrorists, traitors, tribalists, whatever you wish but that not what we are. I have a humble track record, I have made history and Ugandans know me well, you have failed to push me into the garbage heap of history and perhaps that’s why you look at us as a threat and hate some of us because we have remained the opposite of what you represent.
I have never said am an angel because to error is human, a messiah and an authority on how to tackle Uganda´s problems. If you forget your past, you may not know where you are and where you are heading. History is very valuable in our development.

Some of you are being judgemental when you say my hands are not clean because that’s prejudice at work. In my small ways as an individual iam doing the best I can to participate in political, social and economic problems in Uganda and I have contributed allot to needy people, who would not have rather got education, some are very highly educated living and working in Uganda and several other countries abroad (mind you many of these are not my relatives). They even read these posts and wonder what wrong with you and more so some are Bahima.


I got information about the mishandling of 35th batalion which was mainly UFM. The official message was that they had refused instruction from the Brigade commander. They were surrounded and disarmed in a skirmish way that resulted into deaths. I am not well informed about what happened later, whether they were refused to perform funeral rites of those that died in the scamish. By then I had been removed from the North and posted to the school of infantry in Jinja.

President Kagame

Some of you said Kagame cannot let any colonel run away but he has several who run away and are making allot of noise against him. Kayumba is charged of treasonable acts, that he was throwing grenades in Kigali, Furuma who is in the US and General Habyarimana in Switzerland on similar charges. People can always escape from any prison.

Northerners in NRA

Yes we had northerners in the NRA throughout to mention a few; Dr Bata, Maj. Ondoga, Lt Col Dradiga, Lt.Col Toyem, Brigadier Nasur Izaruku-he actually brought in with him about 200 fighters from West Nile. Definitely I participated in many operations against legitimate targets and will be willing to appear before the TRC if someone thinks I committed crimes. Remember even F W de Clark appeared be4 the RSA TRC he is now free and a Nobel Prize winner.

Luwero Bush war & Kabale Bank operations

As for Kabale bank operation during the struggle, yes I led the raid, I signed for all the money I commandeered and delivered it all the NRA high command. Of the hundreds of banks that the NRA took money from its only me that documented what I took and this enabled paying back of the money back to Kabale bank after the war. That should show you the difference between officers’ discipline and way of handling operations. Some committed crimes some didn’t.

I commanded the operation that commandeered money from the currency centre, I know how much there was in the bank and how much we took. Records are there in the bank and my signature on. I took with me Hon Bright Rwamirama(now minister) to help me in the internal procedures, he is the one who filled the ledger. Some people in the bank had advised I shouldn’t sign so that they too can take some money and even take some to my parents. Listen to what I told them “NRA are not a bunch of thieves i am taking this money and when we capture government we shall bring it back”. I remember the BBC caught up with M7 and asked him whether the NRM was not a gang of thieves since we are “robbing banks”?

He comfortably replied to them “how can a robber go to a bank and sign for the loot he has taken. He told them “these were public resources under our control since we had taken effective control of the area from the Junta”. If Major Kabareebe went and took money from another bank iam not aware and he should tell. I know that many operations like that took place. None of those commanders signed for the money they took from banks.

If the money in question is that I secured from the Kabale B.O.U Currency centre, I did my job as an operation commander, signed for the money and delivered it to the NRA high command intact for onward administration. I am reliably informed that that money was duly returned to the centre after the war and you can verify this. I want all Ugandans to know that we were by then the government in charge of the National Assets in the Western Uganda since we had taken over control of the area from the JUNTA led by the late Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa. Do some of you want to tell me that the JUNTA did not use the B.O.U assets in the regions they control?

You should perhaps have started by asking me if it was necessary for me to go to the bush, if it was a legitimate cause and if the operations I led were legitimate. I will answer your question directly; I led legitimate operations and they were necessary, I have a history of rejecting wrong orders and I never appeared anywhere near unit tribunal or court martial for breaking the code NRA of conduct during both the struggle against Idi Amini and Obote (R.I.P)

There were incidents where individual NRA commanders committed mistakes and killed innocent civilians. While we punished some of them harshly the victims have not been compensated. There are also several that went away with it, while isolated incidents of massacres due to poor judgement of commanders manifested. When you put the TRC in place don’t be surprised to see residents of Luwero coming up to accuse the NRA of such crimes and demanding justice. However, the huge massacres were really conducted by UNLA. When it comes to the innocent people that died in cross fire between NRA and UNLA they are very many, don’t u think they deserve justice too? And let’s not confine ourselves on one area, one conflicts, do justice to all Ugandans then you have a nation, do selective justices then u scatter Uganda into pieces.

There was no policy to kill civilians but what would one call a method of work employed in all units, not written on paper as a policy, not mentioned as a crime in the code of conduct but that method could have been used to kill hundreds of people without taking them to any court of law? KIPINGAMIZI KIFE . My conscience tells me that many people died in cold blood, they left behind children and relative who don’t understand why their dear ones died and UNLA, NRA, UFM are responsible. DONT FORGET THOSE THAT DIED IN NAKULABYE MASSACRE 1964, IN LUBIRI 1966, Idi Amini rule, the ITENDERO MASSACRE OF MOSLEMS 1979, MUKURA MASSACRE, OMBACI MASSACRE, ACHOLI PII, just to mention a few. These are not only the ghosts that haunt our national unity but a timing bomb if the truth continues to be hidden. We have to start diffusing the bomb otherwise we are leaving our children in a worse future than some of us have lived in.

It was a cocktail of ideas, Liberators, power hungry politicians, communists, capitalists, federalists, refugees, revengists etc. The end justifies the means: At the beginning of an action I might not be able to determine whether that action is morally right or wrong, but when the morally right goal is successfully achieved, then the steps which led to it must be morally right too.” Machiavellian principle may answer the question. Unfortunately, it seems each grouping in the cocktail has its own end.


Both the NRA and UNLA used land mines. All NRA units had experts in laying mines, Luwero triangle was large and many operations of that nature were conducted and hundreds of mines laid. it’s hard for me to know who laid a land mine where, a thorough investigation can be conducted to know perhaps which unit operated where when, even if some particles of the mine that was used were kept for forensic investigations it’s going to be difficult to know whether the mine that hit your relative was UNLA or NRA since we shared the same stores of arms any way.

I also know that an entire bus “Ssebyala´s bus hit a land mine in 1982” and am not sure victims were compensated. These are accumulated bills for the TRC to handle.

NRA had people to protect from UPC also, had politicians fighting for power and had other people revenging what UPC did to them in Nakulabye and Lubiri in 1964 and 1966.

We did not choose to go to the bush. It was not a picnic it was a matter of life and death. We were forced and painfully pushed into the bush. Where was the nation when we were being molested and pushed to the bush? The nation didn’t protect us from that pain, we found ourselves there and we had to survive by all means necessary. In such a situation allot of things happen

UNLA murders

It’s not only in Luwero that people got killed and it’s not after the NRA went to the bush that people started getting killed . This happened well before NRA went to the bush and More over the first bullet against Obote 2 regime were fired in Luzira by UFM. Maj. Obama who was killed in Kampala during the election time, DP lost a parliamentary candidate in Kasese, in the Army a number of soldiers were rounded up and killed in Makindye and Bugolobi, Haji Mbiringi, late Rwancwende, Sam Karuhanga were killed in cold blood in Mbarara. There was pandemonium all over the country targeting political opponents of the Obote 2 regime. In Kasunganyanja Tooro, there is a mass grave of DP and UPM supporter that were killed under the orders of Captain Opeto (later nicknamed Pilato)

Many people went to the bush for fear of their dear lives; the issue was not whether UPC was elected democratically or not, the mayhem, pandagari, and daylight robbery made many seek refuge in the bush. Definitely some opportunists took advantage of that to recruit people to fight for other motives. If the regime had not mishandled people it would have been difficult for anyone to wage war successfully.
What did we achieve when we went to the bush that can inspire me to do the same? I am in exile, it’s a little better. I went to the bush to protect myself from being killed in cold blood. It was painful and costly to me and many Ugandans. Today iam protecting myself in a cheaper way.

In a war situation all sorts of people take advantage. The ones that stole more were the UNLA , they even unroofed iron sheets and took them.

My primary objective during the war was survival. Thanks to the bush. I didn’t go in order to amass wealth plus, the time I spent working in government I earned well, was able to do my personal business and get established, i am satisfied. I know how to make billions whether am in government or not. My major problem is exile and seeing suffering masses because of the high levels of corruption. This leaves me wondering what our brothers and sisters died for. Those that died trying to put an end to the suffering of the masses.

I think the best way out of the puzzle is to stop the blame game because everyone has good reason to blame the other. Let us go for National dialogue and form a consensus on how to the country should proceed on political issues. The TRC will help to put the blame game to a conclusion, let bygones be bygones and unite to build our country.

Colonel Samson Mande Accuses General Tinyenfunza of ‘Revengful’ Acts in Northern Uganda

Youth for Human Rights International President, Ms. Mary Shuttleworth, presents a Human Rights Hero Award to Mr. Samson Mande for his work to prevent children from being sold into slavery as soldiers in Africa.

Dear Ugandans,
I feel I should answer some of the questions that were raised by one of the UAH members based in London on the link below. I hope you and other readers are still around and in good faith.

Pattrick Mamenero was killed in 2002. Remember that I had written a dossier on the vices of NRM by 1993 and circulated in public. By 1992 I had discovered corruption and invited auditors to check the mess of the ministry of defence undertaking in Dar es Salaam.

In 1994 I wrote another public dossier I called ‘’Dear Comrades- I see cracks in the NRM’’ and in 2001 I wrote a resignation letter in which I detailed reasons which included human rights abuse, nepotism, corruption and dictatorship as that had become cumulative and chronic. So it’s not true that I only spoke against NRM only after my brother had been killed. I also ask you why some of you never ask me these question since I meet some of you very often.

Whoever told some of you that we kept quite just miss informed you, such issues like ‘Katebe’, abuse of human rights, miscellaneous disappearance, arbitrary arrests, we very much condemned but as members of disciplined force we had our hands tied by the fact that we were not allowed to write in news papers until when we decided that enough was enough and went public. You should have remembered that, for instance, Kizza Besigye was about to be taken to Luzira in 1999 when he wrote against corruption in government.

In the Northern Uganda I was commanding the 15th Battalion; the Brigade commander was General Tinyefuza. My Battalion was well supported by the population because of the discipline and our method of work. In all areas we operated the people shall always tell you that the first NRA troops were very friendly and indeed that is why the population helped us to finish the war quicker than we expected.

General David Tinyefunza

When several other battalions were added to us, a brigade was formed and General Tinyefuza made the commander. He came with different orders and a revenge agenda. It’s on record that I rejected some of his instructions to molest people, I refused the recruitment of kids into the NRA and he reported that I had led a mutiny. What he did to the 35th Battalion (UFM) when they also refused to obey wrongful orders, I was very aware and reported the same to the higher echelon. I had no power to stop him from what he was doing. You should remember that instead of reprimanding Tinyefuza it was I who was reprimanded and whisked away from the North and transferred to the school of infantry in Jinja. When I invited the UN and Red Cross to rescue kids from the Army it also became a crime but I saved them until the government accepted to make the ‘’kadogos’’ academy in Mbarara and Lango.

I am not aware that Kagame, Rwigyema and Kaka were killing the UFM soldiers, unless someone has got concrete evidence to convince me. It also seems some of you have a negative attitude towards Banyarwanda as a tribe that might drive you into tribalism. Tribalism should not be condoned its one of the vices that have caused underdevelopment in Uganda and many African countries. The other vice is collective condemnation. There could have been one tribes man or woman who did something wrong, it doesn’t mean that the entire tribe is supporting him in his or her crimes.
I also wish to correct some of you that in 1986 I and the 15th Battalion advanced to Gulu through Kigumba, Karuma, Minakulu-Bobi and Gulu, later on we advanced to Lira, Corner Kamdin, Patongo, Kalongo, Adilang, Abim, Morurem. We didn’t take the Jinja-Mbale axis.

Politics of hatred and tribalism may not help anyone to win hearts of Ugandans. Ugandans expect you to articulate solutions that will emancipate them from poverty, misery and transform them into a united prosperous nation. You are very free to compete with Besigye, Mugisha Muntu and all that are competing for the highest office. The Ugandans will look at your manifesto and decide which leader they should follow. Don’t waste your time on personalities, trivialism, sectarianism etc address issues and win people’s hearts.

Ogenga, Musumba, Reagan Okumu are free to stand for party presidency advise them to do so and support them. If anyone has evidence that Besigye , Muntu, M7 are murderers, help us and take them to court. Otherwise people think it’s just a hate campaign against those individuals. I am one of those anxiously waiting to get the Scotland yard report on Lutakome Kayiira`s murder.

Habyarimana Assasination

I cannot accept or deny that the missile that killed Habyarimana was one of those weapons I used to clear when it was my duty to do so in Dae-es.Salaam. Uganda government is authorized to import arms and my duty was simply to facilitate the clearing and transfer of the military cargo and I cleared so many weapons including missiles. Whenever the cargo was in Uganda I had no business with it. So, am not in position to tell whether it was one of the missiles that I cleared that was used to kill the late Juvenile Habyarimana. With such evidence you guys can take court action against Uganda.A Book “NO MORE TEARS OF JUSTICE” will be released any time soon to Ugandans. Im finishing Chaper 11 of the book.


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